Getting Your Hands Dirty

Of course, bit-tech isn’t just home to photographers and music lovers, oh no. This is where the wild geek roams – living a carefree existence on the mod-filled fields and typically spending most of his time searching for a pool of energy from which to sup. You know, like in Tron.

I can’t have been the only person to have liked that film, can I?

Whatever, it could be that a media player or a camera just isn’t going to cut it for you – you want something you can get your teeth into! A piece of hardcore, spectacle-steaming hardware which will leave you with something you can boast about and appreciate for all two months that it remains on the cutting edge.

If you can't play Crysis properly just yet, or if you can but your PC chassis has taken too much of a beating in the process, then it may be time to upgrade. Below, we've got a few things that may interest you, so why not take a look?

XFX GeForce 8800 GT 256MB

How To Spend Your Christmas Cash Cheap Tech ToysUK Price: £117 (inc. Delivery)
US Price: $219.99 (excl. Tax)

So, you want to smash your piggy bank and spend all your cash in one fell swoop, do you? Eh, do ya, punk?

Yeah, I guess you do and when the 8800 GT is available for such a pittance then it’s easy to see why. The 8800 GT 256MB is just like its big 512MB brother with the exception being the amount of memory. Don’t be put off though as the 256MB still performs well and has a two-year warranty (in Europe) to keep you happy. We've not managed to review the 256MB variant just yet, but early reports indicate that it's a nice little performer for the money – if you want to hold out though, there will be a review on bit-tech in the New Year. It may not give you the ability to play Crysis in all its glory, but it'll take you a good deal of the way there.

With multi-monitor support, a dual DVI hook-up and the possibility to upgrade to an SLI capable rig in the future, the 8800 GT 256MB looks to be a nice little booster to any system, buoying performance without busting the bank.

Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 256MB

How To Spend Your Christmas Cash Cheap Tech ToysUK Price: £110 (inc. Delivery)
US Price: $183 (excl. Tax)

Oh – sorry. When I was talking about Nvidia before I honestly didn’t realise that you batted for the other team. My bad, really – it’s cool that you play for the red side and we have just the ticket for you as well.

The Radeon HD 3850 is a remarkably attractive piece of kit and when you can pick up the 256MB version for just a nudge over £100 then it’s got to be worth the plunge. Similar to the 8800 GT in terms of basic specs, the HD 3850 also has dual DVI support and is CrossFire ready to boot, meaning that you can feasibly upgrade further if you’ve got a little more moolah to lose.

An excellent buy for anybody who prefers ATI over Nvidia, the HD 3850 benefits from being cheaper than the 8800 GT 256MB and is a tempting purchase no matter your GPU allegiances. The good thing is that both of these GPUs are solid buys... it just depends where your allegiance lies.

Cooler Master Cosmos

How To Spend Your Christmas Cash Cheap Tech ToysUK Price: £112 (inc. Delivery)
US Price: $199.99 (ex. Tax)

If you’ve got all the PC components you want for the moment then you may want to plan something a little more ambitious – how about transplanting your system to an entirely new case? The Cooler Master Cosmos should do the job perfectly.

With a fistful of well thought-out features and some interesting anti-noise tweaks, the Cooler Master Cosmos is a mighty attractive case from a technical standpoint. It’s good looking on the outside too, with big sturdy handles for you to lug it about with, easily removable side panels which are cushioned with thick foam pads and a well-polished door on the front too.

There’s plenty of room for even the biggest and baddest PCs in the Cosmos and the chassis can hold 5.25” drives in the front plus six HDDs in individual drawers within. The Cosmos may not be the best case on the market, but it has a lot going for it and a nicely affordable price point.
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